Grow Your Business Through Perseverance
She is currently the second wealthiest woman in the world. But as a struggling young writer going through a divorce and trying to raise her daughter, Joanne was far from wealthy. Her stories were rejected by publishing house after publishing house. After one rejection, she was told to just give up and "get a day job." But she persevered to become who she is today.
Joanne, using her pen name J.K. Rowling, is worth an estimated $15 billion. But it was not an easy path. While most people are not necessarily the smartest one in any particular room or office, they can push themselves to be the one with the greatest amount of grit or determination. The facts are that hiring employees with grit could result in significant growth for your company.
The central issue becomes, which is better; smarts, intellect, and intelligence or determination, grit, and perseverance. The answer is the latter. Angela Duckworth is a psychologist and author on achievement. She has done research to support this very position. In her book entitled Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Duckworth begins to unpack several issues that relate to perseverance.
Her primary focus and area of study is the United States Military Academy at West Point. Historically, there had been a more than twenty percent cadet attrition rate after ‘Beast Barracks’, an intense time of physical and mental endurance. Duckworth and others wanted to know why the rate was so high. The absence of grit and perseverance are the key.
What Duckworth and the West Point administrators discovered was the ‘whole candidate score’, which represented a weighted average of exam scores, high school ranking, leadership potential, and physical fitness, is an overall talent score for gaining admission. But the candidate score was NOT able to identify those who would leave after ‘Beast Barracks’. They discovered talent is not the issue, but ‘rising to the occasion’ is what differentiated the winners from the losers.
Developing and encouraging grit in your business is an important ingredient for company growth. When dealing with your staff, remember, you want to motivate the people with the greatest amount of perseverance. They have the greatest probability of ACHIEVING THE GOAL. From a business standpoint be sure to teach, coach, and mentor your employees to develop a solid work ethic. Show them, by example how to follow through.
Stanford’s Carol Dweck is of the growth mindset belief. In other words, learning is not permanent or fixed, it can all be changed with an amount of effort. Another way of saying it, people can learn perseverance. Further, she believes that failure is an option in business, but it does not have to be permanent.
With regard to failure, it is also part of the perseverance dynamic. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase says "You have to learn to get over bumps in the road and mistakes and setbacks. Failures are going to happen and how you deal with them may be the most important thing in whether you succeed. You need fierce resolve. You need to take responsibility." Communicate clearly to your staff that you understand there will be failures on the road to success but be certain to remind them of what John Wooden said "Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts."
According to Duckworth, the biggest single predictor of success is grit. What many people lack in their innate abilities, they more than make up for in the pursuit of their passion, a result of their perseverance. If you can instill that passion or grit in the employees of your business, you will be well on the way to greater business growth.
Water will seek it lowest level. If you accept something that is less than the best from someone in your business, an un-proofed letter let’s say, guess what is going to happen the next time you need something from that person? Probability is very high that it will be less than their best. YOU need to set the bar of performance. Otherwise, your workers can more easily seek and get by with the lowest level of performance. When given the chance, if your staff does not see a clear definition of the goal, they can easily default to being lazy or unproductive. Following through on all commitments not only takes grit, it builds it. Finally, remember that grit is falling down nine times and getting back up ten times.
Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor.